UAE Soft Power against Human Rights Accusations

The issue of the policy brief is the exploration of the United Arab Emirates application of good governance, precisely soft power as the means of promoting itself in international media as a model of good governance in order to respond to the false accusations against the United Arab Emirates in terms of the Human Rights. Moreover, the policy brief will suggest the response to those charges through promoting the United Arab Emirates advancements and development in various fields such as the improvement of the political system and economic expansion. Furthermore, the suggested responses are able to be implemented by the means of the international relations of United Arab Emirates with a number of different countries, which appear to be substantial and prospering. The respective target audience of the policy brief is the government of the United Arab Emirates.

The importance of the issue

The definition of the soft power

The term ‘soft power’ was firstly introduced at the end of the 1980s and to this day is extensively applied in the external policy discussions of issues (Wilson 111). The description states that the term of soft power refers to the capability of a political territory to convince other countries to act in accordance with the intentions of the original state without the application of violence or compulsion. According to Joseph Nye, a prosperous country demands the use of not only soft power but the hard power as well, thus illustrating the capability of the state to compel others along with the capacity to embody the continuing positions and inclinations. Moreover, Nye “acknowledges the limits of soft power: it tends to have diffuse effects on the outside world and is not easily wielded to achieve specific outcomes” (4).

The significance of the soft power in the foreign policy of UAE

The United Arab Emirates is a country of a meager size; for this reason it is obliged to implement traditional and uncommon approaches in order to stand out in the world arena. Moreover, it is crucial for the foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates to gain a reliable ally. For today, one of the most relevant diplomatic partners of the United Arab Emirates is the Unites States of America. For a long time, the United Arab Emirates and the United States had the reciprocal relationship with the implementing of soft power as a mode of diplomacy (Cooper 168). For example, in the pursuit of the desire to acquire a powerful ally, the United Arab Emirates had provided financial support to the people of America; the funds were given to the victims of the Hurricane Sandy, to be more precise. Furthermore, the United Arab Emirates government had deployed several dozens of representatives of a young generation of the country to assist the Americans in rebuilding storm-hit neighborhoods. The foreign policy of the United Arabian Emirates is built on resilience, temperance, and open-mindedness. The government of the United Arab Emirates is aimed towards maintaining its equitable foreign policy in an assured manner by the means of soft power; thus emphasizing its significance in the external relations.

The basis of the problem

The problem that exists with the foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates is attracting more and more attention of the Arabian authorities, as more debates revolve around the accusations of abusing and exploiting the Human Rights. However, there are various controversies regarding the foundation for these allegations, generally allocating two reasons: the deficiency of communication and information and the contrasting agendas of the divergent media entities. Be that as it may, in the course of numerous analyzes and studies conducted not only by Arabian but the Western researchers as well, the primary argument for the existing misunderstandings was acquired. The root of disputes and differences in perception in the soft power of the United Arab Emirates lies in the source of the accusations: they are submitted by the Western non-governmental organizations supported by a privately owned media outlet that has agendas against the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, their perception of the human rights is distinctive from those in the United Arab Emirates; thus they only can be applied in Western society due to the diversity in culture and religion of these two contrasting worlds.

Soft power and tourism

The level of tourism has greatly increased in the Gulf States with the implementation of the soft power. For example, Dubai is considered to be the seventh most toured metropolis on the planet. Moreover, the Dubai’s airport had been presented with a grade of the busiest and active airport while speaking about the quantity of the passengers. “The Gulf cities have turned themselves into globally recognized brands while traditional Arab cities such as Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus have become synonymous with turmoil and unrest. The massive multibillion-dollar nation branding exercise that cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha have undertaken has turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy” (Qassemi par. 9). Furthermore, Dubai attracts countless politic, enterprise and broadcasting directors by its marketing, political and media prestige. This is only the minor part of the effects brought by the implementing the outstanding soft power strategy. It is crucial to take actions against the accusations against the United Arab Emirates listed above in order the Gulf States were able to retain their impact on the Arab world.

The policy options

The government of the United Arab Emirates has formed various policies in order to make inquiries and responses to international reports on Human rights in the United Arab Emirates. The conducted reforms and established reaction from the authorities of the United Arab Emirates are the examples of exceptional and competent governance. Moreover, they are able to convince the international community the United Arab Emirates are not violating human rights, as people are the core and the essence of a prosperous development of the country (“Ministry of Foreign Affairs” 2).

Existing policies

The Protection of the Rights of Domestic Labor in the UAE

According to this policy, “the United Arab Emirates is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, including the rights of workers. The United Arab Emirates is a party to nine ILO conventions to protect the rights of employees. Temporary workers in the United Arab Emirates, including domestic workers, are regulated by contracts, which are established by specialized entities. The United Arab Emirates is committed to the fight against human trafficking: the United Arab Emirates was the first country in the region to enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law (Federal Law 51 in 2006). In 2007, the United Arab Emirates established a National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, which publishes an annual report on progress in combatting human trafficking in the United Arab Emirates” (“Human Rights and UPR” par. 2). Additionally, the Ministry of Interior has initiated numerous preventive actions and regulations in order to administer safety and support, particularly for domestic workers.

United Arab Emirates National Committee for Human Rights

The National Committee was founded on 21 March 2010. Its mission contains several points, including conducting the accounts demanded by the Human Rights Council; advancing and supervising the exercise of the civil strategy and propositions announced by the Human Rights Council; examining the laws and requirements in the United Arab Emirates that are applicable to human rights; cooperation with national and local government in order to increase the alertness of human rights concerns, etc.

Recommendations and Voluntary Pledges made during the Universal Periodic Review

The recommendations and voluntary pledges that were approved contain points that could be united into the consecutive subject matters: “legislative enactment and amendments; accession to international human rights treaties; establishment of institutions and structures for the promotion and protection of human rights; developing plans, drawing up policies, and adopting strategies to promote human rights; special measures for remote areas; staff training; and strengthening international cooperation on human rights, including with international human rights bodies” (“Human Rights and UPR” par. 6).

Advantages and disadvantages of the existing policies

The benefits of the current policies listed above are apparent, as they increase the awareness about human rights inside and outside the country. Moreover, they are believed to be able to persuade the international society the United Arab Emirates are not disregarding human rights, as the nation is the basis and the structure of an affluent advancement of the country. The detriment of the policies is the absence of regulations towards the non-government organizations, as they impact the implementation of soft power and the expansion of the awareness about human rights as well.

Potential courses of action

As we know, “NGOs that have strong ties to other countries can build friendships and communications with others citizens, or even between political parties” (Nye 14). According to Nye, the multinational organizations are able to impact the lifestyle and beliefs of more people than the country authority is able to influence. Therefore, the policy towards influencing Western non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations should be implemented. Following this course of action would allow the United Arab Emirates to gain more favorable reputation in the international media regarding the human rights in the United Arab Emirates.


This section is aimed towards the presenting a convincing proposal of how certain current policy approaches need to be changed or modified. Moreover, this section will address specific practical steps or measures that need to be implemented and the relevance of the recommendation in the resolution process. The non-governmental campaign of the United Arab Emirates is recommended to demonstrate the dissimilarities between the Western and Arabian groundwork of human rights due to the diversity on the cultural and ideological levels; thus influencing the non-governmental organizations both inside and outside the country. Moreover, the political systems of these two worlds are entirely contrasting: the United Arab Emirates consists of the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Qaiwain. The political system in the United Arab Emirates is represented with a federal, presidential absolute monarchy.

The United Arab Emirates is recommended to be more proactive in the international media. The policies that currently exist do not involve the foreign mass media enough for putting an end to the accusations of violating the human rights. Proactive International announcing implies the preparation of the preventive responses for assorted forms of allegations and impeachments. This would allow the representatives of authorities to react towards the accusations of violating the human rights in timely and accurate manner.

Furthermore, the authorities of the United Arab Emirates are recommended to create an open data portal for all the federal entities in order to provide detailed information and definite facts about human right advancement in the United Arab Emirates. As a result, by implementing this recommendation the government would increase the level of credibility and trustworthiness.

The last but not the least recommendation to the government of the United Arab Emirates is to respond to the state level reports only, not to the allegations of the non-government organizations, even though they have a considerable impact on the lives of the citizens. “For example, a non-governmental organization who works on issue sod human rights and development can build international trust, which in turn might shed a better light on the state in which the non-governmental organization is from. Some public-spirited business people have suggested that companies develop and share sensitivity and communications training for corporate representatives before they are sent abroad” (Nye 14).

As a conclusion, it could be said that the main objects addressing the issue of a policy brief had been achieved: the background for the issue of the soft power had been presented; the basis of the problem had been identified; the policy options had been summarized; and the recommendations towards the current policy approaches had been provided.


Cooper, Robert. “Hard Power, Soft Power and the Goals of Diplomacy.” American Power in the 21st Century. Ed. David Held and Mathias Koenig-Archibugi. Cambridge: Polity, 2004. 167-180. Print.

Human Rights and UPR 2015. Web.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2014, MOFA Brief on the Protection of the Rights of Domestic Labor in the UAE. Web.

Nye, Joseph. “Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics.” Foreign Affairs 83.3 (2004): 2-24. Print.

Qassemi, Sultan. “The Shifting Soft Power of the Arab world.” CNN. 2015. Web.

Wilson, Ernest. “Hard Power, Soft Power, Smart Power.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 616.1 (2008): 110-123. Print.

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DemoEssays. "UAE Soft Power against Human Rights Accusations." April 5, 2022.